Only three months after President Abraham Lincoln was shot, and as the Civil War ended, past and ongoing, reflective revival meetings in this area awakened a deep desire for a new church.
Prior to the birth of that new church, now IFBC, area church formation began in 1861, when Ananias Dill conducted a meeting at the residence of a Joe Lawrence. The location of the meeting was at the Holston Creek area, believed to be approximately one-half of a mile west of the old Gramling School. In 1862, services were conducted under an arbor, located on a knoll, about a quarter mile east of Mr. Lawrence’s home. In 1863, meetings were moved to Bird’s Creek, near a Mark Ragan’s home, and meetings were conducted, once again under a brush arbor. The following year, 1864, meetings were held on the north side of Windmill Hill, off the Howard Gap Rd.,(about 1.5 miles north of our present location), near the home of J.R. Tinsley and family. This area is best known to many still in our congregation, as the former home site of Marvin and Pauline Tinsley Blackwell. Or, most currently may be identified as across from the home of present day members Danny and Kathy B. Johnson.
On Friday, July 28, 1865, a presbytery met consisting of J. G. Landrum, T. J. Earle, and the elders of New Prospect, Mount Zion, and Holly Springs churches. With nineteen charter members, composed of nine men and ten women, Mount Calvary Baptist Church was founded.
When members searched for a permanent building site, William Gowan offered the church a purchase of five acres, which is our present day site, for a sum of $100. The church received a title to the property on February 4, 1879.
The name Mount Calvary was retained until March 12, 1904, when the church voted to change the name to First Baptist Church of Inman. On November 11, 1905, the name was changed to Inman Baptist Church. The name was once again changed in 1915 when it became known as First Baptist Church.
Growth continued, and by 1941, the parsonage was built, followed by the Fellowship Hall in 1948. In early 1955, a building fund was established for more adequate educational facilities and by March 29,1959, soil was turned for a new building addition. In 1981, our present Family Life Center (gymnasium area) was born. In 1997, the current building, including new offices, new Fellowship Hall, Atrium area, and new classroom and educational space was added to create the beautiful facility we now enjoy.
Now, known as Inman First Baptist Church, or IFBC, we are also enjoying, having established within our walls many years ago, a busy Child Development Center. This center ministers to the care and love of many young children throughout the community.
To be noted also, IFBC, known historically as a Southern Baptist Church, voted to dually align with both Southern Baptist (SBC) and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). Since that time the church has ordained a woman, appointed, and elected women as deacons.
One interesting anecdote follows, which was told to the history team by Jerry Lehman, son of Rev. J. Edward Lehman, who served our church from to 1937-1955:Jerry laughingly shared his memory of our church having its first telephone installed in 1948. Then, when the phone was installed, Rev. Lehman found it a necessity to hire the church’s first secretary, so that she could handle the overwhelming calls to the church!……….. And the phones have never stopped ringing!
Compiled and amended: April 2020